Commentary: I’m hoping to prevent someone else from making my mistake of sponsoring my mother to come to Canada.
She’d been physically and emotionally abusive towards me as a child.
She blamed my father, who was abusive to both of us. She'd be violent and abusive, and threaten to kill herself if I didn't do something she'd told me to do.
Once I had an income, I always supported her financially. When I moved to Canada, it was a given that I’d sponsor her.
I let what I thought of as my responsibility, cloud my better judgement.
So she moved in with me, my husband, and our child. Within weeks, she second-guessed all my parenting decisions, was rude to my spouse, and called me names.
She had no boundaries and spoke ill of me to my child. She also made awful racist remarks.
She’d promised to find a job when she moved here, but instead, had us pay for everything.
She was financially irresponsible. She'd use the cell phone I gave her for emergencies only, to make long-distance calls, though we’d bought a package on our landline.
She was drowning us in stress and debt.
My relationship with my spouse was in danger because of all this. She’d never do any house chores.
I cooked, and my husband cleaned, and laundered her clothes.
When we challenged her, or tried to establish boundaries or discuss inappropriate behaviour, she’d make it sound like we were unreasonable.
I needed counselling because I was an emotional mess.
After two years, we realized we couldn't continue. I didn't want to raise my kids in the same unhealthy environment I’d experienced.
I also didn't want to ruin a wonderful relationship with my spouse.
My counsellor told me to make a decision. So I asked my mother to move back to the home country. She refused.
Then I asked her to move into a separate place which I’d rent for her. She instead moved into a shelter. I believe it was designed to put me into the old guilt mode.
This has been our nightmare for several months now. She threatened us with complaining about abuse (false) but imagine what that allegation would do, especially with a child in the house.
We’ve found that permanent residents in Canada have way more rights than their sponsors.
Even though I give my mother money every month, she applied for and received social assistance. The government sends that social assistance bill to the sponsors.
My advice to others - listen to your gut. Do not let someone move here and derail your life. Research this thoroughly before you make a decision that you’ll regret.
The guilt is hard, but my mother knows this and is using it like a fine weapon. Is this the kind of role model you want to be for your kids?
Would you do this to your child ever?
Regret My Decision
Ellie – This woman’s story, and the one that sparked it after appearing in my column May 28, are extremes.
Some people misinterpreted my May response, thinking that I said to not let a parent move in with you. Not so.
I understand that it’s an emotional decision that has to be made, so that the adult child and spouse must take their time to make this decision, and get professional help from a counsellor to do so.
All the sponsorship factors need to be researched before agreeing to be fully responsible for a very difficult parent.
FEEDBACK Regarding the wife who was sex-ting with another man (June 4):
Reader – “While I generally agreed with your response, I think that you missed an opportunity here.
“Specifically, I’m referring to sex addiction and its corrosive affects on relationships.
“Yes, this couple needs counselling, but specifically needs to see a counsellor certified in sex addiction… someone who knows how to deal with the relational trauma partners experience in these situations.
“Pornography and sex addiction are a huge problem in modern marriages and relationships, and need to be talked about and brought to light.”
Ellie - Yes, sex and porn addictions have a very damaging effect on relationships, in all age groups.
In his 50’s, the husband had decided that solo sex while watching porn was more appealing to him than being intimate with his wife.
No wonder she turned to a fantasy relationship with another man!
Unless the husband takes your advice and mine, their relationship’s doomed.
Tip of the day:
Pursue professional advice before agreeing to sponsor an abusive parent.